Macheesmo

Confident home cooking
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Breads, Breakfast/Brunch

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

by Nick

If I want to get my morning started on the right foot, I’ll reach for a bagel and coffee over almost any other option. It’s not too much food, but it’s filling. It works great for casual weekend breakfasts or if you’re in a hurry. Seriously. Who doesn’t like a good bagel?

I realized recently that I’ve never made bagels before, but I knew the process was somewhat similar to pretzels. For my first bagel attempt I went with cinnamon raisin. They are probably my favorite basic bagel.

This recipe produces fantastic bagels. I might be willing to put them up against any DC bagel I’ve had. I’ve definitely had better in New York, but not by much. They are really quite good.

The recipe calls for an ingredient that isn’t very common: malt syrup. I happened to have a jar of it laying around because a neighbor at work gave it to me because she didn’t know what to do with it. I kept it in my fridge and figured I would need it someday. I was so right.

If you don’t have it though you can substitute honey without a problem or brown sugar.

Yield
12 bagels
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Ingredients

  • Sponge:
  • 4 Cups (18 ounces) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups (20 ounces) water, room temp
  • 1 Teaspoon instant yeast
  • Final Dough:
  • 3 3/4 Cups unbleached bread flour or high-gluten flour (I used bread flour, but I bet high-gluten works even better)
  • 1 Teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 3/4 Teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon malt syrup (you can substitute honey or brown sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Cups raisins, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda for boiling

Directions

1) Start by combining all your sponge ingredients in a large bowl. Cover this loosely and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

2) Meanwhile get all your final dough ingredients ready. If you don’t want to do cinnamon raisin, just get rid of the cinnamon and raisins obviously. Also, cut out the sugar and reduce the yeast to 1/2 Teaspoon.

3) Assuming you are doing cinnamon raisin, be sure to wash your raisins to remove any dirt or natural yeast that’s on them. Just pat them dry afterward.

4) After two hours, sponge should be bubbly. Then add all dough ingredients except the flour and finally stir in your flour until the dough forms a ball.

5) Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. It’s kind of weird to knead dough with a bunch of raisins spotted throughout, but it works just fine. Eventually it should pass the windowpane test.

6) Once your dough passes the windowpane test, immediately start forming your bagels. Cut your dough into about 12 or 13 even pieces. If you have a digital scale this is super easy. Just weigh your entire dough ball, divide by 12 or 13 and see what you get. Then you can weigh out each tiny ball for evenly sized bagels. Each one of my bagels was a bit over 5 ounces of dough.

7) Let balls of dough rest for about 20 minutes just so they relax a bit. Grab a ball and gently press down in the direct center of it with your thumb. Eventually it will poke through. Then slowly work the side of the bagel out, making the hole bigger, until the hole is about 1-2 inches in diameter. The goal is for the bagel to be perfectly even all the way around.

8) Set each bagel on a parchment lined baking sheet when you’re done forming it. Let the bagels rise again for about 30 minutes. Let them sit in the fridge overnight to develop more flavor (opt.).

9) Put a large pot of water on and once it is slowly boiling add 1 Tablespoon of baking soda for approximately every gallon of water.

10) Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

11) Boil bagels a few at a time for 1 minute per side. Move them straight to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. If you were topping them with something, now would be the time!

12) Bake them for 5 minutes at 500, then rotate your sheet pans and bake them for another 5 minutes at 450. You can bake them a bit longer if you like them darker.

13) Move them onto a rack to cool right away and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting them open and eating!

14) These are obviously great straight out of the oven, but they lose very little in quality if you freeze them correctly. Just make sure they are cooled completely and then store them in a sealed plastic bag. To de-thaw them, set the bagel in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes and then slice it and toast it as you would normally.


Making the Dough

I don’t think this recipe is all that difficult. It just takes a little bit of love. The dough is pretty straightforward. Start by combining all your sponge ingredients in a large bowl. It will be a soupy mixture (Top left). Cover this loosely and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Meanwhile get all your final dough ingredients ready (top right). If you don’t want to do cinnamon raisin, just get rid of the cinnamon and raisins obviously. Also, cut out the sugar and reduce the yeast to 1/2 Teaspoon. But assuming you are doing cinnamon raisin, be sure to wash your raisins to remove any dirt or natural yeast that’s on them. Just pat them dry afterward (middle left).

After two hours, your sponge should be bubbly (mid right). Then add all your dough ingredients except the flour (bottom left) and finally stir in your flour until the dough forms a ball (bottom right).

Get it?

Get it?

Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. It’s kind of weird to knead dough with a bunch of raisins spotted throughout, but it works just fine. Eventually it should pass the windowpane test.

After a work out.

After a work out.

Making the Bagels

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, immediately start forming your bagels. Cut your dough into about 12 or 13 even pieces. If you have a digital scale this is super easy. Just weigh your entire dough ball, divide by 12 or 13 and see what you get. Then you can weigh out each tiny ball for evenly sized bagels. Each one of my bagels was a bit over 5 ounces of dough.

Of course, you could also just guess. If you end up with 30 balls, they are too small. If you end up with 3, they are too big.

5 ounces each if possible.

5 ounces each if possible.

Let your balls of dough rest for about 20 minutes just so they relax a bit (you want to catch them off guard you see). Then grab a ball and gently press down in the direct center of it with your thumb. Eventually it will poke through. Then slowly work the side of the bagel out, making the hole bigger, until the hole is about 1-2 inches in diameter. The goal is for the bagel to be perfectly even all the way around.

Making a bagel.

Making a bagel.

Set each bagel on a parchment lined baking sheet when you’re done forming it. Let the bagels rise again for about 30 minutes. You’ll know when they are ready because they will float! You just have to test one and they should all be done.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

At this point Peter recommends letting them sit in the fridge overnight to develop more flavor. I did this but my main problem was figuring out a way to stack two sheet trays in my fridge without crushing the bagels! I eventually came up with a complicated system of props (including hand mixer attachments) that let me evenly stack two trays without crushing the bagels on the lower tray.

Not sure that this is necessary...

Not sure that this is necessary…

Of course, I think you could also just make the bagels immediately and avoid that whole mess…

Boiling the bagels

Just like the pretzels, it’s very important to boil the bagels so they develop that nice chewy interior and get that great crust on the outside. Put a large pot of water on and once it is slowly boiling add 1 Tablespoon of baking soda for approximately every gallon of water. Now would also be a good time to preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Then boil your bagels a few at a time for 1 minute per side. Move them straight to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. If you were topping them with something, now would be the time!

Very different texture after a boil.

Very different texture after a boil.

Baking the bagels

These do not need to bake that long. Bake them for 5 minutes at 500, then rotate your sheet pans and bake them for another 5 minutes at 450. You can bake them a bit longer if you like them darker.

Move them onto a rack to cool right away and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting them open and eating!

So good.

So good.

Storing the bagels

These are obviously great straight out of the oven, but I found that they lose very little in quality if you freeze them correctly. Just make sure they are cooled completely and then store them in a sealed plastic bag.

I’m still eating mine that I made 3 weeks ago and they taste great! To de-thaw them, just set the bagel in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes and then slice it and toast it as you would normally. Works like a charm!

Couldn't resist.

Couldn’t resist.

These bagels are chewy and delicious. They are jam packed with raisins and cinnamon flavor. One of my pet-peeves is getting a raisin bagel with like two raisins in it. I hate raisin rationing.

I thought these were really fun to make. The final product was very tasty and they store great. What’s not to love about this recipe?